Review: Good value hearty pub grub at the King’s Head, Stutton
Nicola Warren has a hearty meal at the King’s Head, Stutton
Just off the A137 between Ipswich and Manningtree is the village of Stutton.
At the heart of Stutton is the village pub – The King’s Head – which was taken over by Elaine Tague at the start of December last year.
As we entered the pub on Tuesday night it was clear to see that The King’s Head is still a locals’ pub, but is also drawing people in from further afield with its food offering.
The bar area was busy as my friend Lisa and I entered the pub and the restaurant area soon filled up.
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We were keen to try the food which has attracted so many people to the pub after the bank holiday weekend, when you would have thought people would be at home tightening their purse strings.
The trouble was, it took us quite a while to make our choices! The menus are on chalk boards on one wall, but will soon be on the tables instead, which is good as we hovered by the menus for quite some time before sitting down and then getting up to have another ponder.
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Starters on offer included barbecue chicken wings and sizzling prawns, but we both went for a Chinese theme – I chose the cranberry and brie wontons and Lisa opted for duck pancakes.
Landlady Elaine came over to have a chat before our starters arrived. Her enthusiasm for the pub is infectious.
Despite having no previous experience – “I’d never pulled a pint in my life!” she reveals – Elaine has made a real success of the King’s Head.
After eating out around the world, she has looked at the business from a customer’s point of view. “I think that’s what makes it work,” she says.
On average, the pub serves up 100 meals a day and now offers outside catering too.
Elaine left us to enjoy our meals when the starters arrived.
My wontons were served on a bed of salad and drizzled with sweet chilli sauce.
The crispy little parcels were filled with tangy brie and sweet cranberry sauce and worked well with the sweet heat of the sauce and crispiness of the fresh salad.
Lisa’s starter came with rich chunks of duck, wafer thin pancakes and fresh strips of cucumber and spring onion. The thick, sweet hoi sin sauce complimented the filling.
Starters enjoyed, we looked forward to our main courses.
There were plenty of specials to choose from on the night we visited, including whole filleted seabass with lemon butter, green beans, baby corn and new potatoes and rack of ribs, red eye drizzle, chips and salad.
The pub classics menu offered dishes such as beer battered cod with chips and peas, Suffolk ham, egg and chips and macaroni cheese with chips and peas.
We both chose from the specials menu – the seafood tagliatelle for me and the lamb shank for Lisa.
The tagliatelle came with a nice amount of a creamy sauce, juicy king prawns and big, succulent chunks of salmon and smoked haddock. While I enjoyed the dish, I struggled to finish it and would perhaps have preferred a smaller portion with a side salad or garlic bread.
Lisa’s lamb was very tender and just fell off the bone. It was doused in a rich, sweet red wine and rosemary sauce and served with creamy mash potato, which included slices of spring onion, and perfectly cooked veg.
Next it was time to choose our desserts. On offer were warming puddings such as jam sponge and apple pie, cakes including chocolate almond cake, lighter choices such as raspberry and lemon soufflé plus a selection of ice creams and sauces.
I chose the carrot cake with cream – a moist, flavour-packed cake from the first spoonful, with a generous amount of cinnamon and a sweet cream cheese frosting.
Lisa’s raspberry and white chocolate roulade was a refreshing end to the meal, with light, crispy meringue, rich white chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries.
All in all, we enjoyed a hearty, wholesome meal in a welcoming, buzzy pub. Prices are reasonable, with starters costing about £5, mains £10 and desserts £5 too.
Despite going home bellies full, we were already planning our next visit. As well as becoming known for its monthly music nights and themed food nights, on a Monday, when it’s open mic night, a two-course set menu is available, including tea or coffee, for just £8.95. What a steal! We’ll see you again soon Elaine!